Monday, August 10, 2015

Stalemate In Anbar As Islamic State Carries Out Mass Executions In North Iraq


The major security news in Iraq at the start of August 2015 was that the operation to clear Anbar had stalled. Despite government reports that the Islamic State’s defenses in the province were collapsing, the security forces, Hashd al-Shaabi and tribes found themselves fighting over the same towns that they had cleared just a few weeks or days before. The Islamic State also carried out mass executions in Kirkuk and Ninewa costing the lives of over 450 people, and there were setbacks in Salahaddin as well. Despite the insurgents being on the defense, the overall situation has not changed, as the war in Iraq remains in a rough stalemate.

Musings On Iraq counted 154 security incidents in Iraq from August 1-7, 2015. That was just a bit higher than the amount of attacks seen in July. Anbar and Baghdad were tied for the most incidents during the week with 46 each, followed by 24 in Ninewa, 16 in Salahaddin, 8 in Diyala, 7 in Kirkuk, 6 in Babil, and 1 in Irbil. There are always more attacks in the country than what gets reported in the press.

There were 650 reported deaths and 298 wounded during the start of August. The dead were made up of 3 fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), 9 Sahwa, 40 Hashd al-Shaabi, 70 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 528 civilians. The wounded consisted of 8 Sahwa, 25 ISF, and 265 civilians. Iraqi security and medical sources also reported on executions carried out by the Islamic State in Mosul since it took the city in June 2015. When compared to what was already in the press that added another 760 killed by the Islamic State. There are always far more casualties then what gest in the media due to a lack of national coverage and the government suppressing losses.

By province, Ninewa was the deadliest during the week with 374 killed due to IS executions. After that 76 died in Anbar, 64 in Kirkuk, 57 in Baghdad, 47 in Salahaddin, 15 in Diyala, 12 in Irbil, and 5 in Babil.  

Violence In Iraq By Week 2015
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
189
466
464
Jan 8-14
172
733
518
Jan 15-21
189
403
528
Jan 22-28
195
492
899
Jan 29-31
91
306
568
JAN
836
2,400
2,977
Feb 1-7
155
408
688
Feb 8-14
177
443
566
Feb 15-21
169
592
383
Feb 22-28
171
391
705
FEB
672
1,834
2,342
Mar 1-7
176
373
595
Mar 8-14
137
398
656
Mar 15-21
146
1,304
505
Mar 22-28
174
273
406
Mar 29-31
72
205
219
MAR
705
2,553 + 4
2,381 + 150
Apr 1-7
127
218
422
Apr 8-14
137
676
542
Apr 15-21
172
729
717
Apr 22-28
163
497
483
Apr 29-30
50
162 + 7
182 + 299
APR
649
2,282
2,346
May 1-7
154
626
450
May 8-14
154
420
549
May 15-21
124
963
387
May 22-28
108
341 + 1,499
348
May 29-31
38
66
164 + 646
MAY
578
2,416 + 1,499
1,898 + 646
Jun 1-7
132
431
476
Jun 8-14
126
522 + 405
394
Jun 15-21
141
365
373
Jun 22-28
162
306
474
Jun 29-30
61
122
189
JUN
622
1,804
2,012
Jul 1-7
162
436
725
Jul 8-14
140
384
570
Jul 15-21
109
359
597 + 4,024
Jul 22-28
145
527
590
Jul 29-31
53
453 + 8
603
JUL
609
2,167
3,085 + 4,024
Aug 1-7
154
650 + 760
298

Violence In Iraq August 2015 by Province
Provinces
August 1-7
Anbar
46 Incidents
76 Killed: 5 Hashd, 6 Sahwa, 22 ISF, 43 Civilians
42 Wounded: 5 Sahwa, 17 ISF, 20 Civilians
22 Shootings
4 IEDs
3 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Mortars
4 Suicide Bombers Killed
12 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
2 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
6 Incidents
5 Killed: 2 Sahwa, 3 Civilians
15 Wounded: 1 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 12 Civilians
3 IEDs
2 Sticky Bomb
Baghdad
46 Incidents
57 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 3 ISF, 53 Civilians
154 Wounded: 1 Sahwa, 2 ISF, 151 Civilians
9 Shootings
22 IEDs
7 Sticky Bombs
2 Car Bombs
1 Rocket
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
Diyala
8 Incidents
15 Killed: 1 Hashd, 3 ISF, 11 Civilians
29 Wounded: 29 Civilians
1 Shooting
4 IEDs
2 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
Irbil
1 Incident
12 Killed: 3 PKK, 9 Civilians
13 Wounded: 13 Civilians
1 Turkish Air Strike
Kirkuk
7 Incidents
64 Killed: 7 ISF, 57 Civilians
2 Wounded: 2 Civilians
6 Shootings
1 Grenade
Ninewa
24 Incidents
374 Killed: 30 ISF, 344 Civilians + 760 Civilians
4 Wounded: 4 Civilians
12 Shootings
2 Rockets
Salahaddin
16 Incidents
47 Killed: 5 ISF, 8 Civilians, 34 Hashd
39 Wounded: 5 ISF, 34 Civilians
11 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Motorcycle Bomb
1 Suicide Bomber Killed

Car Bombs In Iraq, August 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Aug 1
Saqqara, Anbar – 8 destroyed
Aug 2
Aug 3
Aug 4
Balladries, Diyala
7
10
Aug 5
? x3, Anbar
Sadr City x2, Baghdad
Khalkis, Diyala
Anbar Unit, Saqlawiya, South of Fallujah, Anbar – 6 destroyed
Amiriya, Husseiniya & Sadiya, Baghdad – 3 destroyed
32
40
Aug 6
Aug 7
Totals
7 & 17 Destroyed
39
50

The Islamic State’s new car bomb campaign continued into August, but with less frequency. After 29 straight days of bombings from July 4 to August 1 there was a two day break. Then a bombing in Diyala on August 4, followed by 14 on August 5, only five of which were successful. There were a total of 7 car bombs that hit their target and another 17 that were dismantled or destroyed during the week.

After steady progress in Anbar, the operation to retake the province stalled in its fourth week. The government’s forces found themselves fighting for many of the same towns and districts in the Fallujah, Ramadi, and Garma area that they had just cleared. Sjar to the northeast of Fallujah was declared freed on July 13, but then fighting broke out there again on July 15. The government pushed out the insurgents again on July 24, only to have a new operation start there on August 2. Humaira, which is outside Ramadi was cleared on July 14, but then the joint forces had to go back in on August 2. Sakhr was liberated on July 15, and then attacked by government forces again on August 1. Subhait, which is on the eastern outskirts of Anbar between Garma and Abu Ghraib, was cleared on July 15, but then the joint forces had to return on August 4. Saqlawiya to the west of Fallujah was liberated twice on July 19 and August 4. Finally, East Husaiba, which is in between Ramadi and Fallujah has been fought over two times as well. The Anbar offensive is beset by two major problems. First, it was launched with roughly half of the forces used to take back Tikrit even though it encapsulates a much larger area. Second, Baghdad wanted to retake Ramadi after it fell to the Islamic State in May. After IS aired a video of it executing a soldier from Baghdad the Hashd unilaterally said they were going to attack Fallujah instead. Not wanting to look in disarray the government announced that it would focus upon both cities and all the towns in between simultaneously. That has split the forces between two targets and exacerbated the manpower issues. The effect has been that Baghdad lacks the forces to hold many of the areas that it clears, which is resulting in the repeated operations in the same towns. That means even if central Ramadi and Fallujah were to be reached, the joint forces will probably not be able to hold them. Instead, IS will be able to move its forces in and out of the two cities and surrounding towns as it has for the last year and half keeping the government off balance.

In Baghdad the insurgents continued its weekly routine of deadly bombings. As in July most of these were concentrated in eastern and southern parts of the province. There were a total of 17 attacks in the east including two car bombs and 15 in the south. They were the main cause of the 57 killed and 154 wounded during the week. 3 car bombs were also dismantled before they exploded.

Attacks In Baghdad August 2015
Center: 2 – 2 IEDs
East: 15 – 1 Sticky Bomb, 2 Car Bombs, 4 Shootings, 8 IEDs
Outer East: 2 – 1 Kidnapping, 1 Shooting
North: 4 – 2 IEDs, 2 Shootings
Outer North: 3 – 1 IED, 1 Sticky Bomb, 1 Car Bomb Dismantled
South: 8 – 1 Rocket, 1 Sticky Bomb, 1 Shooting, 1 Car Bomb Dismantled, 4 IEDs
Outer South: 7 – 1 Shooting, 1 Sticky Bomb, 4 IEDs
West: 4 – 1 Sticky Bomb, 1 Car Bomb Dismantled, 2 IEDs
Outer West: 1 – 1 IED

The Islamic State picked up its executions in northern Iraq. During the week 61 people were killed in the southern section of Kirkuk province, while IS did away with another 392 in Ninewa. That included a mass shooting of Election Commission workers.

The latest effort to free Baiji in northern Salahaddin faced a setback as well. The security operation has been going on there since the start of July. By July 30 it was said that only one neighborhood of the town was still under IS control. On August 6, however it was reported that the militants moved back into two new neighborhoods. IS controls the surrounding towns and rural areas allowing it to continually threaten Baiji and the refinery there since the summer of 2014. Like in Anbar that means that even if Baiji and the facility is liberated it will not lesson the threat to them posed by IS.

SOURCES

Al Forat, "Casualties of Sadr bombing increased," 8/6/15

Independent Press Agency, "A car bomb and another dismantled north and south Baghdad," 8/5/15
- "Killing and wounding 29 people by double car bomb attacks in eastern Baghdad," 8/5/15

Al Masalah, "Foiled two suicide attacks on a military headquarters south of Fallujah," 8/5/15

Newsmedia, "2 suicide attacks kill at least 12 Iraqi troops near Is-held," 8/8/15

NINA, "An attempt to blow up a car bomb in a residential neighborhood Foiled in eastern Baghdad," 8/5/15
- "Eight vehicle bombs driven by suicide bombers detonated, four houses destroyed and 199 explosive devices detonated west of Haditha," 8/1/15
- "A number of people killed and wounded in Diyala," 8/5/15

Parker, Drew, "Car bomb kills seven in Iraq's Diyala: Local official," News Fulton County," 8/5/15

Shafaq News, "13 ISIS elements killed in outskirts of Saqlawiyah and cut supply road of the organization between Khalidiya and Fallujah," 8/5/15

Sotaliraq, "Foiled an attempt to target al-Anbar University with car bombs south of Ramadi," 8/5/15

Sowell, Kirk, “The Islamic State’s Eastern Frontier: Ramadi and Fallujah as Theaters of Sectarian Conflict,” Perspectives On Terrorism, August 2015

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